Many journalists spread their dip pretty thin when writing about climate
By Bob Berwyn
Chipotle’s guacamole is threatened by global warming. Or not, depending what you choose to believe.
Immediately dubbed the “Guacalypse” by some climate pundits, the news that Chipotle acknowledged potential global warming threats in a formulaic report to investors raised a stir.
You can melt the Arctic ice cap, raise sea level by 20 feet, but don’t mess with my guacamole, some would-be climate warriors said. But by the next day, NBC news was — almost snarkily — reporting that there’s no immediate threat to the world’s supply of avocados — at least not yet.
In fact, the entire mainstream media pounced on the story, happy to report that you wouldn’t have a guacamole-less burrito anytime soon. It’s great for the media to have fun with stories. We do, in the press, take ourselves too seriously at times.
But there’s more hiding under the dimpled green skin of the guacamole story. If climate change risks are routinely filtering down to the level of investor newsletters, it seems pretty clear that corporate America is recognizing that climate uncertainty is not good for business.
There’s little doubt that global warming and related climate changes will affect food production at a very fundamental level, and the potential threat to avocado crops is just one small example of that.
The real question is, how do we adapt? We will. We are, if nothing else, and adaptable species We managed to survive the ice age, even without the help of high-tech climate models and über-designed survival gear, and we’ve been adapting and evolving ever since.
But can we do it without too much pain, like major displacements of populations and conflicts over resources? Maybe, just maybe, if we can solve the guacamole crisis, we’ll be able to deal with some of the bigger issues, too. At the very least, we need to figure out how to make global food supplies secure and sustainable as growing seasons and biological conditions change on land and sea.
We know global warming is going to have some bad consequences, but is there a chance that, like a Jiu-jitsu master, that we can take some adversity and make it work to our benefit. We need to collectively get our heads around the fact that, we can survive, and probably even thrive, in a massive transition to green, sustainable energy.
Smart environmental planners and thinkers like Auden Schendler, with the Aspen Ski Corp, have been telling us this for years. Good businesses can find ways to make money in this transition, and the long-term benefits are nearly immeasurable.
If I were a Chipotle investor, I’d be looking at buying cheap land now that will be great for growing avocados 50 years from now, because people won’t go without their guacamole.